At Tilray, our goal is to provide the best information possible to allow both health care practitioners and patients to make informed decisions about their course of care. While most attention in the world of medical cannabis has been directed at cannabinoids such as THC and CBD, there are other compounds contained with the cannabis plant which may be of value. As such, we’ve introduced terpene testing to our facility.
Terpenes are a group of essential oils that contribute to the complex aroma profile of Cannabis sativa and many other plants. Terpenes are generally responsible for providing many of the distinguishing characteristics of different cannabis strains. Almost every type of plant contains terpenes in its different parts such as its leaves, flowers, and fruits.
There is a significant amount of preliminary scientific evidence demonstrating that many of the terpenes found in cannabis exert a biological effect. Several of these, such as β-caryophyllene, β-myrcene, and limonene have been shown to have antioxidant properties. Others, including α-pinene, β-myrcene, and β-caryophyllene, act on inflammation pathways.
There are thousands of terpenes found in nature, and over 100 that are found in Cannabis sativa. While the relative concentration of the different terpenes varies depending on the strain of cannabis, the most abundant terpenes overall include limonene, β-myrcene, α-pinene, β-caryophyllene, linanool, humulene, nerolidol, terpinolene, and ocimene. In addition, trace amounts of dozens of other terpenes can also be found in most cannabis strains.
Testing for Terpenes
At Tilray, we’ve built an in-house analytical laboratory and staffed it with trained professionals, including PhD scientists. We are now able to accurately quantify many of the different cannabinoids and terpenes that are found in cannabis. In the near future, we will be testing our strains to determine the exact concentration of cannabinoids and terpenes in each of them and providing this data to patients through our website. Additionally. we’ve created an easy to understand graphic that displays cannabinoid and terpene levels relative to other strains.
As our scientific understanding about the interaction of terpenes and cannabinoids increases, this additional information on the strains we offer will potentially allow for more educated and effective medical use of cannabis.